Tony Bennett's Favorite Pasta Dish Was A Classic At Sac's Place In Queens

Crooner Tony Bennett was arguably one of the biggest stars of his time. His ability to imbue standards with soul and energy and his golden voice made him a hit with audiences around the world. But at heart, he was a humble man from a blue-collar background who never lost sight of his roots. Born Anthony Benedetto in Queens, New York, Bennett was the son of an Italian immigrant father who grew up within the city's large Italian diaspora. 

A culture and community known for significant contributions to gastronomy, it then should come as little surprise that Bennett harbored a passion for Italian cuisine. And his favorite Italian dish could be found not far from his childhood home. Sac's Place in Astoria, Queens, is a classic Italian American "red sauce" joint — the kind of place that serves up the food created by Italians who immigrated to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And Bennett's favorite order was Italian through-and-through. 

Rigatoni Al Fileto di Pomodoro is a deceptively simple dish that bursts with flavor, combining fresh pasta, tomato sauce, herbs, and olive oil. Sac's Place owner, Domenico Sacramone, told Forbes that Bennett's fondness for the dish likely stems from his roots. "It is what he always ordered," said Sacramone. "He had simple tastes and this dish only has a few ingredients – our fresh pasta, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, and basil. I think it reminded him of the kind of food he also grew up eating."

Tony Bennett loved pasta both at home and abroad

Man cannot live on Rigatoni Al Fileto di Pomodoro alone, though, and Tony Bennett was an international star who traveled the nation and world performing sold-out shows. So, it only stands to reason that a singer, whose most famous song is arguably "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," had more than a few "favorite" dishes. Speaking of the City by the Bay, when hungry in San Francisco, a city with many great restaurant options, Bennett still felt the pull of pasta — just a heartier version. 

Piazza Pelligrini, a trattoria in the city's North Beach neighborhood, serves freshly made ravioli that comes with a number of fillings, from lobster to squash. Bennett's favorite? Meat-stuffed ravioli in a meat sauce, something that he reportedly ordered every time he dined at Piazza Pellegrini. Of course, you can't eat every meal out in a restaurant. Bennett grew up during the Depression and his mother — who had to raise him and his siblings alone and work full-time after the death of his father when Bennett was 10 — was the quintessential Italian home cook. 

His favorite dish of hers is a staple of the Italian American kitchen, professional and home, that has become a favorite of households across the country, regardless of ethnicity. Lasagna made with beef and sausage, ricotta, plum tomatoes, garlic, basil, and just a touch of cinnamon was Bennett's favorite of his mother's many fine meals, so much so that her recipe was served at the singer's 85th birthday gala held at Lincoln Center.